today’s news for Friday, April 23, 2021

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 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," the group discusses the latest comments from Department of Education officials about prioritizing fixing the much-maligned Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Megan details the latest proposal that calls for making community college and trade school programs tuition-free and calls for doubling the maximum Pell Grant award. Allie then breaks down a new report that provided insight into how funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) were provided to schools through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Plus, its National Volunteer Week, so the group wants to hear from listeners about their favorite memories volunteering.

A group of Senate Republicans on Thursday formally unveiled a framework of their infrastructure package aiming to counter President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and negotiate a less expansive piece of legislation that could garner bipartisan support. However, the two sides start at a wide gap, with Biden’s plan calling for $2.3 trillion in investments with $12 billion alone going towards community college infrastructure, while the GOP plan calls for $568 billion in total investments without specifically calling for any improvements to community college infrastructure.


To cap off 2021 National Volunteer Week, we'd like to remind you that we're always interested in hearing your take on financial aid topics. Policies and regulations in the financial aid world can change rapidly, and no one knows the full impact better than you, our members who are on the ground with students every day. Seeing something interesting on your campus that you'd like to highlight? Have an opinion on how new policies and regulations will play out in real time in aid offices? Feel strongly about a bill that's working its way through Congress? NASFAA members can write in and let us know.

Webinar Logo

We are excited to announce that Dan Commons, director of enterprise cybersecurity group and chief information officer at Federal Student Aid (FSA), will be joining us as a guest presenter for this webinar. Mr. Commons will inform attendees on the most recent cybersecurity threats for school, as well as share some best practices for protecting student data. In addition, we'll be joined on Wednesday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET by a panel of practicing financial aid professionals: Brent Tener of Vanderbilt University, Francisco Valines of Florida International University, and Joan Zanders of Northern Virginia Community College. Register now.

Student Aid Reference Desk

Filled with direct links to federal regulation, legislative text, U.S. Department of Education guidance, and analysis from policy organizations, institutions, and researchers, consider the Student Aid Reference Desk your one-stop shop to find what you need, when you need it. We invite you to take a trip though the Ref Desk on your computer or mobile device and complete this form with your answers to be entered to win a prize. Each Friday, we will take the names of all who have submitted scavenger hunt answers and randomly generate five winners to receive some fun swag from NASFAA via mail.

Please join us in congratulating Lisanne Masterson, director of financial aid at Blue Ridge Community College in North Carolina, who will retire in July after 38 years in financial aid; Eileen Serwe, financial aid specialist at Moraine Park Technical College, who will retire in April after more than 40 years in financial aid; and Courtney Rust, FAAC ®, who was promoted from senior financial aid counselor to assistant director of financial aid at State University of New York, Canton. Celebrate your career developments by completing the "Movers and Shakers" form to share the news with your colleagues. We'll review your submission and then post your update to our Movers and Shakers page for all to see.

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